Press Release

AWF Solidifies Partnership with Africa Protected Area Directors (APAD)

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APAD 2024

The Second Africa Protected Area Directors Conference in Zimbabwe concluded on a high note with the signing of a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and the APAD Network on March 8th, 2024.

The overarching aim of sealing this partnership is to enhance the contribution of Africa’s Protected and Conserved Areas (PCAs) in delivering the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the Paris Climate Agreement, especially amidst the ongoing global biodiversity loss and climate change crisis.

Led by Prof. Patience Gandiwa, Director & Technical Advisor of International Conservation Affairs at the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority (Zimparks), the MoU signing session highlighted joint commitments aimed at enhancing the effective management and operations of Africa’s PCAs. These commitments include establishing sustainable financing mechanisms, strengthening climate resilience and disaster preparedness for all of Africa’s PCAs, and promoting cooperation mechanisms among APAD members and their networks.

The AWF’s CEO, Kaddu Sebunya, attended this significant event, along with five other signatories, who serve as co-chairs of the two APAD Working Groups. The APAD Sustainable Financing Working Group co-chairs include Dr. Ibrahim Musa Goni, Conservator General of the National Parks Service of Nigeria, and Prof. Patience Gandiwa, Director and Technical Advisor at ZimParks. The APAD Cooperation Mechanisms Working Group includes Samuel John Mwandha, the Executive Director of Uganda Wildlife Authority, and Brighton Kumchedwa, the Director of the Department of National Parks, and Wildlife in Malawi. Additionally, representatives of the network's co-leads, Dr. Fulton Mangwanya, Director General of ZimParks, and Mr. Eugene Mutangana from the Rwanda Development Board, were also present.

The agreement outlines several key commitments aimed at enhancing the effective management and operations of Africa's PCAs. This includes appointing peer executive directors and managers from the APAD network to lead its membership, mobilizing members to develop and pursue projects across various thematic initiatives, and aligning thematic work with biodiversity and climate objectives outlined in the African Union's Agenda 2063.

AWF commits to prioritize financial, technical, and other assistance to strengthen APAD's capacity, lead the APAD secretariat, and provide support within its resources. Additionally, AWF pledges to seek out and establish dialogue spaces with relevant partners to bolster APAD's agenda and initiatives.

 Both parties are aligned in their commitment to jointly develop programs or campaigns at sub-regional and national levels, mobilize resources, align, and leverage Multilateral Environmental Agreements, and prioritize regular interaction, communication, and planning.

The MoU signing event also had the attendance of 151 key stakeholders, including 57 Protected Area Directors from 31 countries, representatives from various entities such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs), Indigenous Peoples, Local Communities (IPLCs), youth organizations, development partners, local government officials, and the Zimparks Authority.

AWF intends to actualize the agreements laid out in the MoU while remaining steadfast in its commitment to elevating African leadership in conservation. Through this MOU, AWF will build APAD’s capacity, establish spaces for dialogue and engagement with pertinent partners, mobilize resources, and support biodiversity conservation in Africa by collaborating with APAD members to develop programs and campaigns at sub-regional and national levels. 

            The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has served as the secretariat for the Africa Protected Area Directors (APAD) network since its inception in 2020.

            APAD is a network open to the representatives of national authorities of Protected Areas operating throughout Africa, across all Member States of the  African Union

            Read more about The Africa Protected Area Directors